Name of CEO or Leader of the charitable efforts or your group: Barry Friedman
Their title: President & CEO
Company headquarters address: 1385 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, CA 94954
As an organization, there is clearly a determination to encourage employees and the company to support nonprofits and their causes. In what ways is this culture embedded in your organization?
As a third-generation family-owned business, we have been engrained in the North Bay community since even before opening our first store in Petaluma in 1946.
This community is our home. Home to our customers, home to our more than 600 team members and we feel a sense of commitment to give back to our community that has provided us with so many opportunities and support.
Serving others is one of our core values; it’s what we do in our business every day and what we feel is our responsibility to do in our community. As the community has supported us, we have been able to do more for the community.
How have you and/or your employees seen the benefits of this investment in the company? These can be specific examples or in general from feedback you have received.
We attract people that want to be a part of a values-based local company.
We are surrounded by people that care about our local community and it’s that energy that helps drive our continued efforts.
I remember when the American flag was stolen from the Santa Rosa Veterans Building flagpole. There was a story about it in The Press Democrat. I went into the office thinking that we needed to step up and do something about replacing the flag.
I brought it up in a meeting later that morning and heard that one of our merchants, Ed Casey, had already contacted the Vets Building and had a replacement flag on the way for them. That is an example of our team living our values.
Caring enough to act, finding a way within their power to help make our community better. I was just too slow that day…you’ve got to be quick around Friedman’s.
Over the past three decades, among its many community outreach and support efforts, Friedman’s has given more than $160,000 to the Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) in Santa Rosa. Helping young people is clearly special to your organization. Explain why?
Supporting causes related to education and youth programs has always been a priority of Friedman’s community giving efforts.
We want to do our part to ensure everyone has access to necessary opportunities and resources to become thriving members of society.
Youth are our future. In addition to SAY, Friedman’s has long-supported Schools Plus, funding sports, arts and music programs in Santa Rosa City public high and middle schools, as well as other local youth education, sports and agriculture programs that exist within all the North Bay communities we serve.
Team members at each of company’s locations were given the opportunity to vote on local nonprofits of their choice to receive $7,500, resulting in a total of $37,500 distributed to various organizations that have been of critical service to their communities throughout the pandemic. What are some of the areas your employees decided to support through this program?
Our Team Members chose to support nonprofits spanning the communities Friedman’s serves and many different causes, including education and trades programs, Veterans, and organizations providing food and shelter. They are listed below.
Black Oaks Youth Soccer – Santa Rosa
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Santa Rosa
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley
Boys & Girls Clubs of Ukiah
COTS: Committee on Shelterless
CTE (Career Technical Education) Foundation
FISH – Friends in Sonoma HelpingMeals on Wheels Sonoma
Nations Finest – Veterans Organization
NCO – North Coast Opportunities
North Bay Construction Corps
Petaluma Education Foundation
Redwood Empire Food Bank
Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort
Friedman’s is celebrating its 75th year as a building supplier. Explain how the idea of giving back the community has become ingrained in the company culture and why that has taken root.
The values that my grandfather and great-uncles brought to the business 75 years ago and were instilled in them by their immigrant parents – integrity, honesty, respect, caring and service – are still the foundation of Friedman’s today. We have always strived to respond to our customers’ and communities’ needs as we grow and evolve.
Our role within the community has become clearer over the last four years. As our community has faced challenges, the community has looked to us for support and leadership.
We have evolved to become more than just a retailer selling products, we have become a resource that our community relies upon.
We embrace this role and want to continue to be a model for how a company can make a positive impact in its community. ‘Forever Friedman’s’, our guiding anthem this past year as we celebrated our 75th anniversary, means upholding our mission of people helping people while strengthening our commitment to serving our communities for many years to come.